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European Association for Counselling

Is Internet-delivered treatment the way forward?

internet-delivered treatment

Internet Guided CBT

A new treatment form has emerged that merges cognitive behaviour therapy with the Internet. By delivering treatment components, mainly in the form of texts presented via web pages, and provide ongoing support using e-mail promising outcomes can be achieved. The literature on this novel form of treatment has grown rapidly over recent years with several controlled trials in the field of anxiety disorders, mood disorders and behavioural medicine. For some of the conditions for which Internet-delivered CBT has been tested, independent replications have shown large effect sizes, for example in the treatment of social anxiety disorder. In some studies, Internet-delivered treatment can achieve similar outcomes as in face-to-face CBT, but the literature thus far is restricted mainly to efficacy trials. This article provides a brief summary of the evidence, comments on the role of the therapist and for which patient and therapist this is suitable. Areas of future research and exploration are identified.

There is a growing demand for counselling across the continent of Europe. In many places too few counsellors are being trained to a high enough standard the resulting waiting lists compound the problems of the sufferers.

Alternative treatment that is cost-effective and inexpensive should be made available. There have been trials of alternative methods from using highly supervised counselling students to asking the professionals to see more people. Unfortunately a counsellor is physically and mentally drained when they have to many sessions to close together there is no or very little recovery time. The good news is following many trials cognitive behavioural therapy has been found to lend itself to be a highly effective form of therapy. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) combines techniques and concepts that addressed in a systematic way such as graded exposure and challenging negative  thoughts.

Today though many individuals with psychiatric disorders never receive this treatment. One way to handle this problem would be to place programmes onto computers to deliver CBT. There have been early attempts to use a variety of treatments via the Internet, CBT has proved to be a treatment that can lend itself to be helpful and successful. But it is not for every mental issue. Internet-delivered courses of CBT to treat anxiety have proven to be more effective than when it is used to treat depression.

For clients who can benefit from internet-delivered treatment there are many advantages over face-to-face therapy. For clients who live a distance from their clinic or may suffer from phobias or who cannot attend day-time session because of work commitments, computer based therapy can be highly effective alternative to regular face-to-face therapy.

The therapist can monitor the client and maintain contact via eMail or Skype or if possible the client could visit the therapy rooms once per month instead of weekly.

The client would have to attend an initial session when the counsellor will see if the CBT Internet-delivered programme is a suitable form of treatment for the client and also that the client is happy for it to be their form of treatment. As more research is being carried out on the method so it will improve and reduce the number of people who are waiting to see a therapist for a long period.

To continue this paper please click on Internet-Delivered Therapy

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